Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, one of the capitals of the New South, the University is within one day’s drive of 55% of the U.S. population. By automobile Charlotte is just a few hours from the beach to the east and the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west.
The city took its name from Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III. The county in which Charlotte lies took its name from the queen’s German principality. The discovery of gold in the late eighteenth century made Charlotte the center of U.S. gold production until the California gold rush. The federal government opened the first branch of the U.S. Mint, now the Mint Museum of Art, in Charlotte.
Charlotte is the largest city within the nation’s fifth-largest urban region. Ranked 19th in population nationwide it had a regional population of 7.6 million in 2002. Only the urban regions containing New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami had greater populations. While Charlotte is known for its strong entrepreneurial spirit it is home to some of the largest corporations in North America. It is the second-largest banking center in the nation, with over $940 billion in financial assets, and serves as headquarters for Bank of America and Wachovia. The Greater Charlotte region is headquarters to nine Fortune 500 companies.
The U.S.A. National Whitewater Center, 10 minutes west of the city, is the official U.S. Olympic Training Site and the training center for the U.S.A. Canoe and Kayak teams. The city is the home of the new zMAX Dragway and the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Professional sports in Charlotte include NFL Football (the Carolina Panthers), NBA Basketball (the Charlotte Hornets), minor league baseball (the Charlotte Knights), WNBA Basketball (the Charlotte Sting) and Stock Car Racing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
The culinary arts thrive in Charlotte. Restaurant News Magazine named Charlotte one of the "Top 50 Cities that Sizzle". Moreover, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg cultural community is alive and thriving with arts, science and history. Cultural resources include the Afro-American Cultural Center, Billy Graham Library, the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Charlotte Museum of History and Hezekiah Alexander Homesite, Charlotte Trolley Museum, Historic Latta Plantation, Historic Rosedale Plantation, Levine Museum of the New South, Mint Museum of Art and Second Ward High School National Alumni Foundation.
In Waxhaw, about thirteen miles south of Charlotte, is The Museum of the Alphabet. Exhibits trace the development of the world’s languages and origins of writing from Arabic to Visigoth.
Six colleges, universities and schools located in the Charlotte area enrich the community’s arts environment by providing a diverse number of educational opportunities as well as outstanding performances in music, theater and dance.